As the controversial murder case of Jordan Setlampoloka draws to an end, the key witness in the case and the deceased’s co accused took to the stand this week accusing the police of killing and covering up his death.
Appearing in a packed courtroom this week, Unopa Makhombe related the happenings of the fateful day he claims the cops killed his friend.
Makhombe narrated to the High Court that on the day, they had been taken in for questioning by the police. He says they were taken to an isolated room and were ‘forced to confess’.
He says when they refused to give in, the police officers tortured them.
“They instructed us to take off our clothes, and we did so. Then they suffocated us. They had our hands tied on the side and we could not move,” he said as he illustrated to Justice Leatile Dambe about how, he alleged, the Mogoditshane police officers tortured them.
Makhombe who was then a co accused with Setlampoloka in a series of robberies around the country- further said that Setlampoloka during the harassment was strangled to death by the police.
“They killed him. They strangled him to death. After realizing that he had died they planned to make it seem as if he committed suicide. They ordered me to take his body to a nearby car. We drove off to some place but I could not see where we were going,” he testified.
Makhombe further told the court there were four officers in the double cab vehicle which transported the lifeless body of Setlampoloka.
He says at one point during the journey the car stopped. Although he did not know where exactly they were Makhombe claims there was another car that was following them.
He says they reached a secluded place where they left Setlampoloka’s body.
The witness further claimed that he was then subjected to a series of assault by the police who he claims were afraid that he would speak out about the death of Setlampoloka.
“I was harassed, beaten up and shifted from one police cell to the other. At one point I managed to get inside the police cell with my cellphone and I called the then Ombudsman to come and rescue me from the situation,” he said.
The six accused police officers, Sub-Inspector Ranto Mmeleki, Detective Assistant Superintendent Dithuso Dintwe and Constables Patrick Gobotswang, Tebogo Khutsafalo and Kabo Ramohibidu, Michael Ramhibitswana all appeared in court this week.
Their lawyer, Busang Manewe told the court that the key witness is a pathological lier and that it would come out clearly during cross examination.
The case continues with judgement expected to be delivered before the end of the year.